Maria Middelares General Hospital installs holders for the call buttons on patients' beds

Maria Middelares General Hospital recently installed specially-designed holders for the so-called 'call buttons'. Those are the devices that patients use to call for help from a nurse, as well as to operate the radio, TV and the window shades. This seemingly minor practical development is the result of a collaboration between students, design agencies and the Maria Middelares General Hospital. It has had a significant positive impact for patients and staff.

The call button is an indispensable tool for the hospital patient. Before introducing the holder, there was no fixed locationfor the call buttons, which sometimes led to impractical situations. For some patients, the call button was affixed to the bed, often with the display side upside down. At other times, the call button was somewhere in the bed where the patient could not find it or in such a position that it was pushed by mistake. On occasion, the device would fall on the ground and become damaged. All of this led to unnecessary frustration on the part of patient and staff. It also led to repair costs.

Next to the patient, you see Hilde Vermeulen (Head Nurse for General Surgery) and Tommy D'Haeyer (Head Nurse for Geriatrics).

Innovation and immediate impact by emerging talent

Innovation and immediate impact by emerging talent

There is now a solution: call buttons will have a holder, so it can be placed wherever the patient chooses. That benefits patient safety: the call button is now always within immediate reach. In addition, there are fewer mistaken calls and less damage to the devices.

The development of the first prototype for the holder (SUDL) was done under the auspices of the MakerHealth project, together with Howest/Industrial Design Centre - Design for (Every)one (D4E1), which provides students with professional support from industrial design agencies. The final design for the holder was produced by Kim Jolie (, in co-creation with the Maria Middelares General Hospital and thanks to the financial support of the in4care care institution.

Christophe Mouton, General Director for the Maria Middelares General Hospital: ‘Innovation is not only about the complex, high-tech developments. It is also about smaller, practical solutions that directly impact the work floor. Under that vision, we participated in the MakerHealth project. To innovate, you have to have the right insight from the (care) professional, because they know like no other where improvements are needed and what problems arise on the work floor. The result is completely tailored to our own care organisation.’